Archive for the ‘sewing’ Category

Summer ATCs

My ATCs for the summer exchange were a lot more involved than my spring cards. And the involve electronics! Sort of. Coming up with my cards for the summer exchange was even more difficult than coming up with the spring ones, because when I think summer everything I think of is smells and sounds and feelings (sunscreen, humidity, heat etc) which I couldn’t figure out how to make into images that I liked. Then it finally occurred to me that two of my favorite things in the summer are the smell of rain on hot pavement (I recently came across a word specifically for that smell but I can’t remember it now), and thunderstorms. So I decided I wanted to put a thunderstorm on my cards and I wanted the lightning to actually light up! They didn’t end up how I was picturing them originally, but they’re pretty darn cool.

I made the lightning light up using LEDs and watch batteries. I originally asked the fiancee if he could rig something up for me so there would be a little button or switch inside that you would push, but he wasn’t real interested and couldn’t come up with a real good way to do it and finally just sort of quit thinking about it. But when he was trying to figure it out he mentioned that it would be easiest to just use the LED and the battery straight (because you don’t actually need anything else because voltage on the battery is correct for the LED already, or some other electronics concept that I only vaguely understand) but he didn’t know how you could keep the leads (the two metal bits sticking off the LED) separate so that it was only lit up when you pushed them together. My first thought was a spring, but if it were a metal spring that would create a short and it wouldn’t work. Then I suggested foam and he said it might work, but he didn’t think the foam would hold up well. But I went hunting around the random junk in our apartment and found foam that worked! Then I had to figure out how to get the light and battery to stay in the right place in relation to each other and the rest of the card, while putting enough stuffing, or whatever I used, in the card so that the light apparatus wasn’t creating a great big bump on the surface. I ended up solving both problems by using multiple layers of timtex, two of which had space cut out for the light and battery to fit in to. To get the lightning itself, I ended up cutting the shape of the lightning out of the front fabric and putting a piece of nappy liner (my mom has some of the strangest and most useful things) behind that fabric so there was some sort of surface to the lightning. Then I painted gold onto a piece of this papery stuff, also from my mom, which went underneath the light to try and give the lightning some sparkle. Then came the layers of timtex, all finished off with another piece of fabric on the back. I sewed around the edges with the sewing machine to keep things together, and I can tell you that my machine did not like going through all those layers! Now, process pictures!

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And here are all the other summer ATCs, there are some more really cool ones! I really like the one my mom made, and the flower garden done with the ribbon embroidery.

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Next up: fall!

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ATCs and Inspiration Boxes

As my mother keeps reminding me, it’s been a while since I posted. Sorry about that. So, remember my post months ago about the artist trading cards I made and the exchange for them? Well here are pictures of the other cards from the exchange!

I managed to miss getting a picture of one person’s cards, they’re adorable kangaroos with Santa hats! Somehow I was thinking that I had one of them in my set so I didn’t take a picture of them at the meeting, and today I discovered I didn’t get one.

The next exchange is this Thursday, so I will post more, including the ones I’m making, sometime next week! (hopefully)

We also exchanged “inspiration boxes”. Somebody found one on Etsy that you could buy, and figured they’d be good for an exchange. So first, here’s the one I put together.

And the inspiration box that I got. I think this one was a lot better than mine!

My inspiration box came from Australia, hence the Koalas and the neat fabrics that I suspect you can’t get here. And I love the sparkly box, but boy does it shed everywhere! I put it in my purse after I got it, and have been spreading sparkles everywhere, even at work, ever since. 🙂

Christmas Artist Trading Cards

I am participating in an artist trading card (ATC) exchange. Its 6 cards every other month, and the theme for the December exchange is Christmas! Who ever could have guessed that theme? 🙂 The cards need to be 2 1/2″ by 3 1/2″ and can be made using any technique, and this time around I went with embroidery. I don’t know exactly how/why I decided to do hedgehogs, they’re not especially Christmas-y, but that’s what I did. Well, there is one rabbit too, but it’s mostly hedgehogs (I’ll explain the rabbit later).

Digging through my mom’s fabric stash, I found two fabrics that I liked for the background on the cards so I decided to make 3 cards on each fabric. I cut out strips from each piece that were wide enough for the long side of the card (I think the original strips were 5 inches wide but I don’t remember exactly) and long enough to fit three cards, with seam allowance, on each strip. And then I went to town. This was the first time I free-hand stitched things that needed to be a certain shape, rather than just a pattern along a seam, and I’m pretty happy with how it went. The hardest part was figuring out 6 different designs to do (they could have all been the same or just re-used several, but I wanted to make them all different) and still make the hedgehogs look Christmas-y. That’s where the bunny comes in. After the first hedgehog I was thinking I could do a couple different little animals, and thought a rabbit and a squirrel would work quite nicely. So I was thinking I could do one rabbit, one squirrel, and and one hedgehog with Santa hats on and then the same but with reindeer antlers and a red nose. I only had to get about halfway through the rabbit to decide that it was a much more complex shape than the hedgehog and I really didn’t want to do such a complex shape 4 more times. So I went back to just hedgehogs.

Once I got the embroidery done, I needed to finish the edges and put a back on the cards. My mom was quite helpful in that, as she usually is, and I’m happy with how they turned out.

The exchange is happening at the December Designing Quilters meeting which my mom and I will miss because we’re going to be in Hawaii (so excited!) so we have to send our cards along with someone else. Because of that, my mom made a cute little bag to put the cards in.

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I’ll be getting 6 cards back from other people and I’ll be sure to post pictures of those when I get them!

The Penguin

No, not the Batman villain, this is just a penguin. I shouldn’t say just a penguin, he’s an adorable penguin. A few months ago we took a road trip to Wyoming for my cousin’s wedding, and on the way we stopped at a great fabric store in Billings, MT. There’s more about the store, and the trip, in this post here, but the important part to know is that I got a pattern for a penguin family. Theoretically it’s to give me some practice making stuffed things before I try to make the dragon pattern that I got at the Albuquerque Fiber Arts Fiesta (there are a lot of posts on that one, but the dragon is in this post).

So a couple weeks ago I was planning to go out of town for an SCA event, but was reeeeeally tired on Friday night and decided it just wasn’t worth the drive. My mom suggested that since I had all my homework done ahead of time anyway, it would be a good time to work on the penguin, so we did! Mostly, it went pretty smoothly. I had some trouble getting the belly to line up right with the side panels, but my mom fixed that, and he somehow came out with his head turned a little sideways (I suspect this problem has something to do with the other one…), but he looks pretty good. I think I will do at least one more penguin, but not for a little while yet. I have a few other projects that have actual deadlines, a couple of which are coming up fast, that I need to do first.

 

We’ll call it a progress report

I was in Wyoming last week for my cousin’s wedding, we got back to town Wednesday, and that’s totally my excuse for not posting sooner. Then I got home and got lazy, *sigh* sometimes I just feel like being a lazy bum. But now I’m going to post! Cause I need to clean off my dining room table so I can do more crafting, and if I tell you guys I’m gonna clean, then I’ll probably do it! Anyway, I did some fiber stuff on my trip, and got some new fiber and fibery things, to tell you about. And then I have an update on the Dreambird project I’ve been working on!

First, my fiber acquisitions.

On the way to Wyoming we made a stop at this great fabric store in Billings, MT, called Fiberworks. They had some of the neatest fabrics I’ve seen, and definitely the best collection of animal print fabrics I’ve ever seen at a store, along with lots of cool patterns. That’s where we got the penguin pattern. My cousin Colleen wants me to make a penguin for her, and I’m thinking I may start playing with colorful penguins… sometimes I’m a bit too ambitious I think, we’ll see how that goes. I also got the blue felt there, which I plan to use as the background for a couple pieces I’m doing for another show with the Designing Quilters, called Beauty and the Breast. It should be an interesting show, and those pieces are what I want to work on when I finally get the table cleared off. We also went to a fabric store in Wyoming which is where I got the plaid fabric. I just loved the colors, and it was on sale, so we got it for me to use to make an apron dress for SCA stuff. It is cotton, which isn’t exactly accurate for the time period and location, but it’s so pretty! And I figure it will be nice to have a somewhat lighter-weight apron dress.

The quilt blocks have a fun story behind them. I like to geocache, which is like a worldwide treasure hunt where people hide little containers (called caches), sometimes with little knick knacks in them, sometimes with just logs, and then post the GPS coordinates to the cache online and other people try to find them. It’s lots of fun actually, although when I first heard about it I thought it sounded strange and boring, but it’s not! The point is, there was a quilting themed geocache in the town where we were staying! I got my mom and my aunt to come with and find that cache which is where we found the quilt blocks, and then left a few buttons in exchange, because the rules are that if you take something you leave something of equal value. I’m not totally sure what I’ll do with the quilt blocks, but my mom suggested making them into a box of sorts to store/display the stuff I find from geocaches, and I like that idea. Then, on our last day in Wyoming, we stopped at a thrift store in town, which had great prices, which is where we found the pattern for the cute little sheep (I want to say it’s a counted cross-stitch pattern). It was actually a kit, but it looks like it’s missing the thread at least, unless it came with almost no thread, but it’s cute and it still has the directions and chart, so I’ll have to try it one of these days. Counted cross-stitch is one of those techniques I’ve never tried, and only been marginally interested in trying.

And now, the dreambird shawl!

I’ve been moving almost painfully slowly on it. I’m not quite sure why, cause it always feels like I’m making great progress as I work on it, and then it just feels like I stall out and suddenly it’s taking me a couple hours for each feather. And I can’t quite pinpoint a certain section that’s taking extra time, cause each section separately seems to go quite quickly and easily. Maybe I just have a weird sense of time when I’m working on it, although there is the saying that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. So maybe extra time is just disappearing… yeah, doesn’t make sense to me either. But I think I’m almost half done with the shawl, so maybe just another month or so, I hope.

 

Now, I need to go clean off my dining room table. It’s where I take most of my pictures and I seem to just pile up the stuff I’m taking pictures of all over the table. And the sewing machine is set up there. The poor table is just not that big, so I need to do something about the mess. And now, because I’ve told you that I’m going to clean, I might actually do it!

messy, messy table

messy, messy table

Abq FAF final exhibits

I’ve got four exhibits to go in this post, but it shouldn’t be much more to the post than the others. I had totally forgotten that I took some pictures of the rug hooking exhibit, so I figured I’d toss those in with the ones I already had planned for this post.

First is the quilt exhibit, and there are a lot of these pictures. This was the biggest exhibit, and was actually split up into two locations cause there wasn’t space in just one! There were some very nice pieces with some interesting techniques and textures. Overall I quite enjoyed the exhibit.

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So it seems that I lied when I said this post would still be about the same size as the others. In fact there’s twice as many pictures as in any of the other exhibit posts :-D. The thing is, when I write a post, I don’t upload any of the pictures until I reach the point where I want to use a picture, at which point I upload them all. And this time it was a lot of pictures.

Anyway, next is the youth exhibit. I thought it was great that they had a youth exhibit, and there were some very nice pieces, and of course, some that were definitely not great pieces of art or very well made, but I have no problem with that because the kids tried and I figure they must have enjoyed making them if they put them in an exhibit. I chatted a bit with the woman who was manning (or should that be womanning?) the exhibit, and she said there was a little girl who came by and was incredibly excited to see her piece on display in a case, and was thrilled that she got a ribbon (all the kids got participation ribbons), and for that I would gladly look at a bunch of absolutely terrible pieces, it was just a plus that there weren’t any that I would say were terrible. I didn’t take many pictures of the youth exhibit though, lots of the pieces were very similar in a way that suggested they had been made in a class, so I took pictures of a few of the more unique pieces, cause I figured you guys won’t be interested to see a bunch of sloppy pieces that are all about the same.

Next is the clothing exhibit. I’m not really that in to clothes, unless they’re medieval clothes, in which case I get quite intrigued, but a few of the clothing pieces caught my eye as worth sharing.

And finally, the hooked rugs exhibit. This is the one I forgot I had taken pictures of, but it’s a good one. I have done a little bit of rug hooking and enjoyed it well enough, though I didn’t fall in love with either the process or the end product. But I really liked some of these pieces. I know I wouldn’t have the patience, and may not have the skill, to make most of these designs that I liked the best, but they’re just those pieces that inspire you and make you want to try the technique, convinced that the result will be amazing. I might try rug hooking again, I do have the hook tool now, but probably not for a while. And now I will stop rambling and show you the pictures!

 

Well, that wraps up my coverage of the Albuquerque (I’ll be glad not to have to type that anymore!) Fiber Arts Fiesta. It was a really fun event to go to, and I hope you enjoyed the pictures, but I’m ready to move on in my blogging. I think I’ve used up enough time, and I’ve got a bit more work done on various projects, so I’ll have something to post about. I’m going out of town this weekend so there won’t be any more posts until next week, but then I’ll give you an update on my two big knitting projects, the Dreambird and the Kimono Cardigan, and I have a needle felting project to share!

Abq FAF Embroidery and Crochet exhibits

For some reason I don’t really feel like writing much today, but I will share more pictures with you, cause I’m sure you’re eager to see them. The format for these is the same as the last post, if the label for the piece is not visible/legible in the original picture, then there is a close-up of the label following the picture, to make sure everybody gets credit for their work.

 

The embroidery exhibit appeared to have been a competition with several categories along the lines of non-original designs, original designs, and colcha embroidery. I think the categories were a bit more complex than that, but that’s really the salient information. If I didn’t mention it before, each exhibit was put together by the appropriate guild in Albuquerque, so the formats of the exhibits varied a little bit, as did the sizes of course.

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I will admit that I generally don’t find crochet as interesting as other techniques. I don’t know what it is, it just tends to seem boring to me, and I don’t find basic crochet stitches to be very visually appealing. That being said, I found some really beautiful pieces in the crochet exhibit that just struck me. So it seems I just haven’t been looking at the right crochet stuff.

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